After excessively overstating the importance of their own Key-friendly rogue poll last week, this week has seen a barrage of propaganda from Fairfax Media, led as ever by their in-house National Party spin doctor, Tracy Watkins.
Watkins’ official role is political editor for Fairfax Media NZ, but a quick scan through her work will quickly quash any pretense of political neutrality, as her ongoing editorial love-in with John Key prevents her from applying any of those long lost journalistic standards; fairness, accuracy and balance.
Perhaps accompanying John Key on all those international trips has brainwashed her into being a true Key-believer, or maybe she is employed by Fairfax Media precisely for her willingness to abandon journalistic ethics and instead churn out endless column inches of National Party spin. Whatever the reason, her output of propagandist puff-pieces on behalf of Key and co this week is simply a continuation of the work she’s done since long before this blog was established.
Two weeks ago, Watkins demonstrated her shameless National Party partisanship, by elevating beyond credibility the importance of their own questionable in-house polls, showing a rogue result in favour of her National Party buddies. She’s an absolute disgrace, and should declare her loyalty to John Key overtly, rather than posing as an independent journalist at New Zealand’s largest news corporation.
Meanwhile, her colleague Vernon Small took aim at the Labour Party conference, with a list of every marginally radical topic that might be discussed. Fair enough angle, I suppose, if you want to stir up a bit of fear-mongering among your uninformed reactionary readership, but not exactly fair, accurate or balanced. Imagine if stuff.co.nz opened their coverage of a National Party conference with a subjective list of every crazy, unelectable, hard right idea that might get chucked around there – never going to happen.
This week, Fairfax followed up by leading their political “news” day after day with glowing testaments to the strong relationships and dynamics within the National Party. “John Key – living the dream”, “Key credits team for National’s success”, “Chemistry bonds ex-political rivals” asserted the headlines, in blatantly spin-driven puff-pieces that could have been written by Crosby-Textor, and in many ways probably were.
As I have always maintained on this page, Fairfax Media have every right to act as a public relations service for the political Right in New Zealand. But, instead of attempting to manipulate their readers by posing as an independent news media corporation, it is essential for our democracy that they state, once and for all, exactly where their partisanship lies. This is obviously clear to informed New Zealanders, but readers of stuff.co.nz are generally – by design – lacking in balanced political understanding.
Come on Fairfax! Declare your hand, so that New Zealanders can make an informed choice about where they source their political information. If we wanted National Party spin, surely we would simply visit the National Party website instead.
There have been calls for a targeted blitz on Twitter, to out the most heavily-biased journalists in New Zealand’s news media. It’s a call that is gathering momentum, and, unless journalists and media outlets declare their bias in no uncertain terms very soon, I believe this will be the obvious next step in combating what is clearly an assault on our democracy by powerful Righwing organisations.
To find out more about any of this, or to simply register your dissatisfaction with the current situation, please join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/ , share with your friends, and boycott Fairfax publications such as The Dominion Post and Sunday Star Times.
Thanks for your interest.
Readers might be forgiven for thinking a story published under the headline “Labour surges in latest poll” might actually include some comment from the Labour Party.
But, not at Fairfax.
It appears that, as they are now unable to ignore polls pointing to their boy John Key’s demise, Fairfax Media have come out swinging on behalf of their chums in the National Party.
The result is simply not a news story; from beginning to end it’s a summary of the National Party’s propaganda, disguised as journalism.
Aside from the sheer ridiculousness of John Key preaching “morals”, Fairfax publish without question his twisted analysis of the political spectrum. Key’s repeated claims that the most dictatorial Right-wing Government in New Zealand’s history, are actually “Centre-Right”, while the Opposition are “far-Left”, are published as gospel , without any response or comment from the Labour Party. This perhaps tells us as much about Fairfax’s political stance as it does about the National Party’s.
It is of course Fairfax Media’s prerogative to act as a mouthpiece for the National-led Government, despite the dangerous implications of such abject contempt for democracy within New Zealand’s largest media corporation. They do however, at least owe their readers and subscribers a level of openness, and should declare overtly their political partisanship so that Kiwi voters can make an informed choice about where they source their political information.
As Fairfax clearly have no intention of being honest with their readers about their relationship with the National Party, it is left up to informed New Zealanders like you to spread the word. If you are sick and tired of Fairfax Media abusing their privileged position to publish National Party propaganda dressed up as independent news, please share this piece, join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/ , avoid stuff.co.nz and boycott all Fairfax publications.
John Key’s dramatic exit from a press conference yesterday may have gone viral, but it seems those closest to the action were keeping ominously quiet.
The footage, which was quickly picked up by TVNZ, 3News, and now the Russian Times, went completely unreported by stuff.co.nz and the Dominion Post newspaper. Interesting, since the footage actually shows Fairfax political editor and unofficial National Party spin doctor Tracy Watkins sitting right in front of the Prime Minister, scratching at her pad and pretending not to notice as Key spits the proverbial dummy and makes a hurried exit stage left.
John Key was clearly amped and well prepared for his showdown on Campbell Live last week, shutting down John Cambell’s questions and going on the offensive to defend the GCSB bill. But yesterday’s footage shows what happens when the increasingly under pressure Prime Minister hasn’t had three days of intensive media training just before a difficult question.
Meanwhile, it seems that Fairfax have also elected not to mention the latest Roy Morgan polls, which show a sudden drop in National’s support as the GCSB bill is debated, and forecasts a change of government. Having convinced many New Zealanders not to even bother voting in the last general election because polls showed National would romp home, it appears that Fairfax Media would prefer to keep quiet about the latest poll, which shows their team taking a seven point drop and being overtaken by a Labour, Greens coalition.
Interesting that stuff.co.nz couldn’t publish the results fast enough just three weeks ago, when the previous Roy Morgan poll showed their National Party chums on 51 percent support; “Labour’s support slumps”, read Stuff’s headline in July.
Now, less than a month later, the news of a dramatic swing to the opposition is greeted by Orwellian tumbleweeds at Fairfax.
Apparently there has been some serious soul searching at Fairfax NZ recently, as the media corporation look to end the exodus of subscribers and restore credibility as a reliable news source. Blatantly partisan political coverage like this won’t be helping their cause.
To help ramp up the pressure on this unbalanced, anti-democratic news corporation, please join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/ and share with your friends. Also, please boycott Fairfax publications, cancel your subscriptions and avoid stuff.co.nz.
The people of New Zealand deserve a news media with our interests at heart in these difficult and controversial times, not simply a mouthpiece for an out-of-control rightwing Prime Minister.
Stuff.co.nz and Dominion Post publishers Fairfax Media have barred their reporters from covering lectures on inequality by visiting London School of Economics Professor Robert Wade.
News staff were told early last week not to cover Wade’s visit, and to ignore press releases relating to it.
In fact, the only information a search of Robert Wade turns up on stuff.co.nz, is Deputy Prime Minister Bill English defending himself in The Southland Times after threatening Professor Wade after a TVNZ Q&A appearance, and English’s “rebuke” from The Dominion Post.
Orwellian denial is nothing new at Fairfax – this blog has outlined their history of ignoring academic research in favor of populist National Party “solutions” – and it’s a moot point whether they are formally working to support Government propaganda, or simply have a common alignment of Rightwing dogma. But, it certainly speaks volumes that, immediately after Bill English bullied Professor Wade with the threat; “Don’t you say that again!”, Fairfax told their reporters not to give him any coverage.
Professor Wade is in New Zealand for the launch of Max Rashbrooke’s book “Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis”, which he contributed to. In a series of lectures and media appearances, he has noted that New Zealand has seen significant increases in inequality in the last 20 years, at a greater level than in other Western nations.
This has clearly touched a nerve, angering those defending the status quo, and bringing out the bully boys on the Right. Deputy Prime Minister Bill English wagged his finger threateningly at Professor Wade after a TV appearance, essentially warning him not to report on his research. And, as blogger Martyn Bradbury points out, inequality may well be the big issue of next year’s election, so it’s little wonder the National Party and their media allies are trying to shut down Professor Wade’s research and Rashbrooke’s explosive book.
Warning their reporters not to write about Professor Wade points to a chilling and sinister level of public manipulation from New Zealand’s largest news media publisher, and confirms what this blog has asserted for many years – that Fairfax are putting Rightwing propaganda ahead of genuine news, and attempting to pervert the fragile state of New Zealand’s ailing democracy.
Just this week, The Dominion Post avoided talking about allegations that energy minister Simon Bridges misled parliament, reporting only on the giant billboard that Greenpeace had posted near Fairfax’s Wellington office, after other media had covered it. They then named Greenpeace as ‘Wally of the week’ for spending valuable funds on the billboard. Perhaps, if newspapers did the job their subscribers paid them to do, it wouldn’t be left to charity organisations to hold a corrupt Government to account.
If you are sick of New Zealand being fed one-sided propaganda by this Orwellian media organisation, please join us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/, boycott Fairfax publications, and avoid stuff.co.nz.
While respected international newspapers and the scientific community are linking Hurricane Sandy to climate change, it seems that none of the “journalists” from Fairfax have bothered to ask the question.
In fact, searching ‘Hurricane Sandy climate change’ on stuff.co.nz brings up no connection what-so-ever. Surely no real journalist – operating free from a dictated agenda – would simply “forget” to link the biggest story of the week to one of the biggest stories of the era. At newspapers like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Independent, the issue is being debated furiously, with all concluding that, while climate change can’t be solely blamed, the conditions that caused Sandy can be attributed to climate change, and the extreme weather fits all the climate change prediction models of climate scientists.
But, with Fairfax’s largest shareholder – serial polluter Gina Rinehart – only buying into the media corporation after being advised to use mainstream media ownership to promote climate change denial, it’s hardly surprising. And, this comes just the day after Fairfax completely ignored the Government’s plans to scrap a crucial environmental report.
It ain’t just the streets of Manhattan that smell fishy…
Please avoid sourcing your news from this propagandist, anti-environment media corporation, boycott their publications, tell your friends, and join our protest on facebook http://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/ .
Two Johnnies spared by Stuff’s journalistic suplex.
Kim Dotcom’s visit to Parliament yesterday provided a number of potential news angles. Fairfax Media avoided all of them.
Instead, they once again reverted the inverted triangle of news writing, and entered the story from the one tiny positive Dotcom delivered to the underfire Prime Minister and his slipperiest employee, John Banks.
So, while the New Zealand Herald had “Dotcom: ‘Hurt’ by Banks denial of friendship”, and an intro saying he “believes the Epsom MP should stand down from his ministerial portfolios”, Stuff.co.nz ran with the polar opposite, telling their readers that “John Banks has been through enough and it’s time to move on”.
In fact, Fairfax’s angle was so far down the less partisan Herald’s list of newsworthy points, that Stuff’s intro was the very last paragraph in their story. As one Opposition MP pointed out; “Anyone would think they’re different events!”
Radio New Zealand reported that “John Banks knew, says Kim Dotcom” and “Dotcom went public after ‘hurt feelings’ over Banks. So un-newsworthy was the Fairfax angle, that RNZ didn’t report it at all. TVNZ news had “Government ‘threatened’ by Banks affair – Dotcom”, and TV3 focussed on the absense of Banks himself during Dotcom’s visit, only referring very briefly to Fairfax’s “news angle” at the end of their story.
Only the Prime Minister’s mates at Fairfax led with a positive angle for the two Johns, an angle so flimsy, and so indicative of clutching at straws, that it cannot be taken as anything other than Fairfax’s latest attempt to protect John Key from the New Zealand public.
Had enough of this one-eyed, propagandist rubbish from Fairfax Media? Please avoid stuff.co.nz as a news source, boycott publications like the Dominion Post, join our movement on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/fearfacts/, share this post, and tell your friends.
Rightwing hack’s dummy-spitting reveals insecurity of media’s cosy Keyphiles.
It appears that the mainstream media’s most sycophantic National Party apologists are a tad touchy about being held to account by ordinary New Zealanders or journalists with opposing views.
John Armstrong’s ridiculous rant in yesterday’s New Zealand Herald about “bloggers” reveals that independent media are indeed having an impact on the way readers percieve the subjective reporting of a tired but comfortable corporate media establishment.
In attacking two of this country’s most highly regarded journalists in his misguided rant about “the blogosphere”, Armstrong has demonstrated precisely why New Zealand needs independent voices holding imbedded conservative journalists like him to account.
Clearly, John Armstrong protests too much, illustrating that – for the first time – the mainstream media themselves are being held to account by the people. They don’t like it. But, I have a simple solution; play with a straight bat, write with fairness, accuracy and balance, and don’t try to mislead us. Starve us nasty bloggers of oxygen and ammunition, and we’ll go away.
Online media critics, or “bloggers”, have been aware for some time that we are having a very real effect on the way mainstream media reporting is being viewed by the public, and we are clearly starting to get on the MSM’s tits. Good! This can only lead to fairer, more honest reporting, which is surely what we all want and is far healthier for the deteriorating condition of our democracy.
The comments forum attached to Armstrong’s rant is extremely revealing, and shows a general lack of public sympathy for partisan journalists who have failed to do their job. The New Zealand public have woken up to the irrelevance of a corporate news media that is enamoured with a failing Rightwing Government, and are looking elsewhere for genuine political analysis. In fact, 95% of the comments are scathing of Armstrong, and among the very few supporters are fellow Rightwing hacks Deborah Coddington and Fran O’Sullivan.
I encourage readers of this blog to join the debate, and leave further messages for Mr Armstrong and his ilk.
Also, don’t forget to join our movement on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/fearfacts/ and tell your friends.